Salisbury, N.C. – Max Mittry may not have practiced his No. 2x outlaw kart on Monday night at Millbridge Speedway, but that doesn’t mean that he’s not carrying confidence into the QRC Speed51 Open presented by HMS Motorsport.
Mittry, 13, made the decision to skip out on turning laps around the one-sixth mile dirt oval to save his equipment for Tuesday and Wednesday night’s racing programs and “not tear anything up too soon.”
“We just didn’t want to take an unnecessary risk,” said Mittry. “We were here last year and feel like we’ve got a pretty good direction of where we need to be in order to be successful this week, so it was just about protecting our equipment. Our teammates (Chase Majdic and Demo Mittry) had some things they needed to break in and try out, but my kart is where it needs to be, I think. We should be good.”
Mittry has momentum on his side after a strong second-place finish during Sunday night’s second annual Clash at the Creek, held at nearby Mountain Creek Speedway.
Though he finished second to Carson Kvapil, who ironically enough led the way during Monday night’s three-hour open practice session at Millbridge, Mittry said he was happy with his team’s performance.
“The car felt pretty good; it actually has since Sunday night,” Mittry noted. “We just tried to survive that one. I didn’t have anything for Carson on that last restart. With the way that track was hooked up, his four-stroke out-gunned up a little there on the short run and he hooked up and got away.
“I feel like we’ll be pretty good here at Millbridge, though. We found some things we liked during the Giveback Classic last fall, so hopefully we can build on them and have a strong day for ourselves.”
– Twenty-four drivers took at least one timed lap during practice Monday night, but none of the Factory QRC house karts was among that list.
The QRC quartet – made up of Logan Seavey, Karsyn Elledge, Tanner Holmes and Daniel Whitley – each has at least one Speed51 Open appearance, with all but Whitley having multiple runs in the May event.
That means experience and track time shouldn’t be an issue, according to Holmes.
“You always want to be out there in your own kart if you can, but we know what we have and we know we’ll have Tuesday’s $1,000-to-win program to dial things in as well,” said Holmes, who ran one session in his sister Carly’s kart to help her get the setup fine-tuned. “I don’t think missing this Monday night deal is going to hurt us, especially being my fourth time here now. I’m excited to get going, though.”
– States from as far away as Washington (Renee Angel) and Oregon (Tanner and Carly Holmes), as well as one Canadian province (Ontario, Scott Hall) are represented on this year’s Speed51 Open entry list.
California drivers have won three of the last four editions of the crown jewel event, with Logan Seavey triumphing in 2015, Kyle Larson winning in 2016 and Tyler Seavey – Logan’s brother – topping last year’s race.
Only one local driver, Nick Hoffman, has won the Speed51 Open in its five-year history. Hoffman took home the $5,151 prize two years ago by leading 50 of the 51 laps.
– Though five different drivers have won the Speed51 Open in its five-year history, dating back to 2014 when it was first run as the SPEED SPORT Challenge, the event’s defending winner will not race this year.
Tyler Seavey is remaining home in California to tend to other obligations, and as such the quest for the first back-to-back victory in event history will have to wait at least one more year.
-Story by: Jacob Seelman
-Photo credit: Speed51.com